Crassula alpestris: Care and Propagation Guide
Also called the sand-coated crassula, the Crassula alpestris is a flowering plant species that belongs to the Crassulaceae family. A native to South Africa, the dwarf perennial succulent is rather short-lived.
This unique plant blooms in the spring season. The beautiful plant with its fragrant gorgeous pinkish or reddish-tinged white blooms looks great when grown in a pot.
About Crassula alpestris
The beautiful Crassula alpestris succulent grows to around 6 inches in height and 6 inches in width when fully mature. The plant is characterized by its reddish-colored stem that grows upwards and triangular leaves with a wide base that tapers to a sharp point at the top.
The flowers are tubular with their petals flaring at the mouth and fused at the base. The succulent is highly drought-resistant and you can find these plants growing in small clusters on rocky outcrops or in shallow pockets of sand in the open.
Crassula alpestris are naturally found in parts of South Africa that receive winter rainfall and Northern and Western Cape provinces. These are very slow-growing plants and in the wild, the Crassula alpestris has a life span of around 3-5 years or more.
Crassula Lower Classifications
How to Care for Crassula alpestris
The Crassula alpestris succulent grows best when placed on a sunny windowsill because it needs strong and bright light and a bit of direct sunlight. For the plant to thrive, it should get full to partial sun.
If the plant doesn’t receive sunlight, it will have a spindly growth and will not flower. The Crassula alpestris is more of an outdoor plant rather than an indoor one.
Since the Crassula alpestris is a succulent, it has the same watering needs as other types of succulents. The plant needs proper watering to thrive and be healthy. You should take care not to overwater the plant and it must not sit in water.
The Crassula alpestris requires regular watering from April to September, which is its growing months; however, during the autumn and winter seasons, the plant goes into dormancy, when it must be watered very sparingly.
The best method to water the Crassula alpestris is by allowing the soil to dry out completely and then giving it a good soak.
The Crassula alpestris succulent grows best in gritty, well-drained soil. It does well in mineral soil having very low organic content. Adding pine bark or coconut coir to the soil helps to make the soil better draining.
There is no need to fertilize the Crassula alpestris in general because this will cause the lush growth of the plant and spoil the sleek, sophisticated look that you want. The plant should be fertilized once every two weeks during the spring and summer months, which is its growing season.
Use a balanced liquid fertilizer that has been diluted by 50%. Avoid fertilizing the Crassula alpestris during winter.
The Crassula alpestris succulent thrives in warm climates and the perfect temperatures are between 60°F to 75°F (15.5°C to 24°C). In winter the temperature should not be less than 50°F (10°C). The succulent does not do very well in cold and damp weather and it tends to lose its color, turning mushy and yellow.
If you reside in an area with a cold climate, then it is better to grow the succulent indoors. However, you must ensure that it receives sufficient sunlight. The succulent grows in the USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b.
Pests and Diseases
In general, the Crassula alpestris succulent does not have any serious disease or pest problems. However, overwatering can lead to fungal diseases and also cause the root of the plant to rot. The plant may also be susceptible to pests such as aphids and mealybugs.
Propagating Crassula alpestris
The Crassula alpestris succulent can be propagated by stem or leaf cuttings, leaves, basal offsets or seeds.
If you are using leaves to propagate the succulent, make sure to get a healthy complete leaf from the mother plant. Let the leaf callous before replanting it. Replant it in well-draining soil and water when the soil is completely dried out.
Cut a stem cutting that is 2 to 3 inches long and plant it in a pot of 2 to 3 inches height having a mixture of sand and peat moss in equal quantities. Keep the plant at room temperature in bright light.
When the mother plant produces an offset, remove it from the main plant using a sharp knife and clean the excess soil. Wait until the offset calluses and only then replant it in well-draining soil. Ensure to water it when the soil becomes dry.
Propagating the Crassula alpestris using seeds is not a popular method because the growth is extremely slow. However, to propagate using seeds, sow the seeds in well-draining soil in autumn by mixing the seeds with some fine sand and spreading the sand on the surface of the soil uniformly.
Water once every few days and keep the soil moist until the plantlets appear. Then, allow the soil to dry out between the waterings.